Australian Biography

Veronica Brady - full interview transcript

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Veronica, you've had many different hats that you've worn in the course of your career, and I suppose the one that intrigues people most, given that you've managed to mix it with many other aspects of your life, is the fact that you became a nun, and that you are and continue to be a Catholic, and I wonder if you could tell me why you became a nun and why you are committed to Catholicism.

Well, you see I don't see myself as wearing different hats. It's a rather different view inside your own skin and I'm never terribly interest in playing roles. It seems to me that's who I am. And, being the person that I am, I get interested in different things, and so I do different things. But ... and ... nor do I see being a nun as being a special sort of species. I know in the old days when we got all dressed up we did look like a penguin. There's one ... if I can digress a bit, I used to love one cartoon I saw in the good old Saturday Evening Post: a nun in old fashioned garb has been knocked down, and she's lying flat out on the road and two burly workmen come to pick her up and one says to the other, 'Hey Bill, you better get a spade, she's blessed you know'. [Laughs] However ... But anyway getting to ... well, just because I suppose as a child I had certain sorts of religious experiences. It comes of course from the Catholic subculture to which you belong. Freud or someone might say they were merely illusion, but ever since I was a little child I've had a very, very strong sense that there are realities beyond us. I remember one wonderful experience, and I must have been quite small, and just lying under the lemon tree in the back yard. and it was a sunny day. which was extraordinary in Melbourne, and my legs were in the sunshine and the lemon tree was in bloom and the hose was running somewhere, and I just had a sense of sheer bliss and sheer beatitude, and sheer holiness. I think by having been surrounded also by love in the family and knowing that you could trust, and so I've always had a sense that there're ... there are realities beyond me and I'm floating in the midst of those and I was ... And religious instruction at school sort of took - not ... not ... not necessarily the pious bits, but we had some very good teachers and we used to read a lot of Scripture, and I've always liked poetry and that spoke to me, and then there was, in those good old days, there was incense and processions in the chapel, particularly in spring time with the blossoms in bloom. So all of those made me feel, yes, there is some other dimension, and when I was in my last year or so at school, I began to think maybe I ought to be a nun. I also admired the nuns who taught us. The main reason was, because not only were they intelligent women, but they obviously got on very well with one another. They were obviously friends, and they were obviously happy, so none of this nonsense that you get in, for me, in stories about Catholic childhoods and the nuns who taught me were ... seemed to be well adjusted and happy women. So, something inside me said, 'Now look really you ought to be a nun'. However the rest of me, which was at that stage discovering that life was terribly interesting and I was intelligent and I was writing poetry and I dreamt I was going to be a great writer and I was going to the university, thought, 'No thanks'. And I also was discovering boys. 'No', said I, 'No I don't want that, thanks'. And I remember when I said to my mother, and she was a bit surprised, because they were not pious Catholics at all. She said, 'Well, look, you go to university first', so I went to university and I had a good time there, and then I still thought, 'No thanks', and so I taught for a year, after I graduated, and the feeling was still there. So ... and there was this good chap who wanted to marry me and I still thought, 'No, I don't think that's the way I'm meant to spend my life'. And also, as I like to say, I'm pretty sure that I'm probably under sexed. I mean I like the company of men, but I'm not frantically interested in sex. And you know, good old Catholic upbringing you're a good, pure little girl. So I thought, 'Look, I'll give it a go'. And I did think that I wouldn't last long and all. my friends gave me about six months. And we had the most wonderful celebration on the way up to Ballarat to join there, with wonderful picnic with lots of ... I remember it was Chianti in its little baskets, and ending up with some wondrous brandy, so the tale is told that I wasn't terribly clear about where I was or who I was when I entered. But there you are. I've stayed, because it seemed the right place. It seemed the right thing to do. In those days of course, that was in 1950, the old style religious noviciate was very strict indeed. There was silence. There was lots of prayer. Lots of scrubbing of floors and washing of pots and pans. You were made to do difficult things and it was ... the whole existence was pretty austere. And I did think a lot of them were quite crazy, but I thought, well, that's part of the deal, I'll do it. And fortunately, the first year as a novice in ... I was allowed to do some teaching. Then the second year is ... brought nothing but prayer, which again I liked, and then the third year I came back to do some teaching, and I love teaching, and so there we were and I've always been successful at my teaching, so.

So going back to your catholic childhood, you said your parents weren't particularly devout. What kind of Catholics were they?

Intelligent Catholics, I like to think. My father had travelled quite a bit before he married and in the good old Irish Catholic tradition he didn't marry 'til he was in his forties. He was a member of ... I think there was something like thirteen children in his family, and he would have loved to have gone to the university. He was a very very intelligent and cultivated man, but of course there wasn't money. But he did manage to make some money. He was the brother-in-law of T.M. Bourke, so he travelled, and his Catholicism was very much bound up with ... with paintings and pictures. They never talked piety, and my mother had been a boarder at Mary's Mount and had a convent education. But I think they were both relatively sceptical. I mean, I do remember twice my father marching out during a sermon because he thought the priest was talking nonsense. One time it was ... he was reading out the list of people who'd paid money for their Easter dues, and the priest was making comments about some of them and saying, 'Wouldn't you think he would have given some more?' and my papa could not take that. Maybe he even said that of him, I don't know. But we marched out. I remember that.

What did you think of it as you walked out with your father?

I was only quite small. I felt terribly ashamed, but it was the sort of thing that my father would do and so we trundled along behind him.

What else did you walk out on?

I don't remember what the other occasion was but I do have another ... or maybe it didn't happen. Maybe I was just imagining it - another [time], of all the church looking at us, in a big old church in Balaclava, hideous old church, and everybody looking at us as we walked out. He had ... you see he had his very strong opinions also. So they were not at all conventional. I used to be terribly ashamed when at the first convent school I went to, in the country in St. Arnaud, and they were, some of them, were caricature sorts of nuns, not very well educated. They used to cane the kids. I was afraid of going to school. I used to pretend to be sick in the mornings so that I wouldn't have to go to school, and since I was a spoilt child my parents would often let me stay home, which is probably why I'm well educated. And I'd read and do all sorts of things, and recover, of course, the moment school was in. But, now what was I saying? I remember they used to ask whether you said the family rosary and of course we didn't, and I remember once or twice when we were travelling we didn't go to mass on Sundays. Ooh! Err! But if you are Irish and Irish-Australian, your Catholicism is part of you and I had a good education as I say and when I was ...

What saved you from this ignorant little country convent?

We moved to Melbourne. Well even when we were in the country my mother kept saying to my father, 'Look, really we ought to send them as boarders to Mary's Mount in Ballarat'. I mean, partly there wasn't money for it because this was the Depression and we were genteel poor, because my father had gone out of the family company just as the Depression was started - typical of my dear father, but also I think he said, 'Boarding school is a terrible place and children should be at home', and thank goodness that he did that. And then that meant that when we went to Melbourne I just loved every minute of Loreto, because as I say, the women were loving and cultured and so there we are.

Why did he leave the job just as the Depression started?

Because it was his opinion that they were being dishonest. That there were some funny things going on.

This was your mother's family company?

No my father's. No my father. My father's ... my father's sister was married to a well known real estate, and well, my father was a man of principle. I ... I know, and I used to be very conscious of it. Often some of the relations would laugh at him. They'd say, 'Oh, Uncle Ted, he's just so terribly impractical'. He was. He was not ... I suppose I get a lot of that from him. Money was not the be all and the end all. It was really important for him to do what was right and decent. He may or may not have been right. My sister knows all about family history, I don't. She maintains that, yes, he was right, and indeed that he was very badly treated. And we were never of course on the bread line, but the Depression's not a good time to start up in a new job. One stage, he was running a pub in Seymour, but as he always said, just like him, if only he'd stayed with that pub 'til World War II broke out, and that was the big army camp. He would have made his fortune, but he didn't. He moved on, and then we went to St. Arnaud in the country and I suspect that he probably was a SP bookie, I'm not sure. And he did manage. He had ... Some of his sisters owned a pub there so perhaps he managed that . I'm not clear how we lived, and I know we were regarded as rich people in the country town, because we had a big house and we had a maid, but there was constant worry about money. I think everybody worried about money during the Depression. And then, when we came back to Melbourne, he started as an estate agent in St. Kilda, and was not very successful at it, because as I say, he wasn't a great businessman, but we never starved and we were always middle class, and you see, he'd had all these experiences so I suppose I've always been one of the privileged people.

How many children were in the family?

There were only two of us.

That was unusual for a Catholic family.

Very unusual. And you know one wouldn't know how they managed it or what they did or anything like that, but there were only two of us.

So from the beginning, you were conscious that you didn't question in your family the fact that you would be Catholic, but the fact that you would question that Catholicism was there right from the beginning.

Yes. And as I grew up I read more. I read. I was a great vogue of the French Catholic writers, people like Bernanos, and Blois and Mauriac. And I ... well, when I was at university I joined the Campion Society and there was a female version of that and I belonged to them, the Women's Society, and Melbourne Catholicism has always been a thinking kind of Catholicism, so it seems to me perfectly sensible that you didn't leave your intelligence outside when you went into church, and there's a long tradition of thinking and of ... of the arts and of culture. It was a tribal thing. It was part of you. Being a Catholic meant that you were part of a worshipping community and a believing community, and there was a tradition of theology, and I got interested in theology. But I've always thought that you have to be the human being that you are, and that Christianity is all about God involving himself, or herself, in history and after all, Jesus was Jewish, and Jesus belonged in his time and place and had his views in time and place, and if the spirit of Jesus is alive then that spirit is working here and now, and I suppose that's another thing that my father realised having travelled, that say, French Catholicism was one thing, English Catholicism another, American Catholicism another. You had a ... He met an American when he was travelling, one Eugene ... Now, what was his name? I forget the surname, but Eugene someone or other, who lived in Georgia ... and they used to correspond with one another and Eugene was also a Catholic. So it's always seemed to me to be perfectly logical that ... and I happen to think that a certain kind of authoritarian Catholicism is an aberration, and I always say that they don't own the church, that the church is the people of God and I belong just as much as they do, and if the word 'God' means anything, it means something utterly mysterious and we really don't know what it means, so how anybody can think that he or she has the final word on that matter is a bit beyond me.

In thinking about joining an order, did you think about any alternative to the one that you knew from school?

I did. I was very strongly drawn - people don't believe this but it's true - to become a Carmelite. Because I really do ... do like peace and quiet, not that I get very much of it, and I do find it very easy to pray and that life seemed to be very attractive, but various people said to me, 'No, no that's not really you', so I said, 'All right', and well, that's fine. I haven't looked back ever since.

Well the rest of us might be grateful that your voice wasn't stilled by your going into the Carmelite order, but what about you? Do you ever regret that?

Not really. No. I mean I don't believe in ... I tend not to look back and I tend not to ... [INTERRUPTION - SLATE]

Having decided to go into a teaching order, could you describe what happened when you joined and were there any surprises for you?

I suppose again the surprise was that people were so normal. I remember the very first night I arrived and, you see, we again were quite civilised. We didn't sleep in a dormitory, we had little rooms of our own, and I woke up in the middle of the night to find one of the other sisters, who was supposed to look after me ... When you come in, you know, somebody looks after you to make sure that you know what to do and where things are, and it was a cold night, and she'd come in just to put a rug on my bed and I thought, well, that's a very nice thing to do. And people gen ... as I say people genuinely did seem to be happy, and the odd thing was that I found myself quite happy. I mean let's say I was ... the first week or so, saying, 'Oh, this time last week I was doing such and such', and then 'This last time I was doing such and such', but it just didn't seem to ... to suit me. It was austere, especially in the winter in Ballarat, oh heavens above, and there was no ... you didn't ... you had a bath once a week and you had to wash in your own room in a basin thing, and you used to have to fill up your ... You had a little billy of hot water and you had to fill it up straight after dinner and then you didn't go to bed 'til after nine and there were all sorts of contortions to keep your billy warm. You know, wrapping blankets and so on round about it, and I do not getting like getting up early in the morning. In fact, I thought ... and it wasn't dreadfully early, it was ten to six, then you'd get up and sit in that freezing cold chapel. Now I did think at one stage, I cannot get up at ten to six for the rest of my life, and the mistress of novices was very worried, and said, 'You don't have to think about that, just think about getting up this morning', which I did. And of course, since then, I haven't looked back because now we have a much more civilised sort of regime. That ... all that sort of thing was ... was difficult. And the cold I found really terrible. I used to get very very bad chilblains. But, you know, strangely enough it suited me. And then you see, because I loved teaching, I really do love teaching, I was doing what was familiar and what I was good at from the beginning. Some of the people, my colleagues then, had a really terrible time because they had come straight from school, many of them, and they were thrown into teaching, and they hadn't the foggiest idea how to teach, and they didn't have the gift. And they must have gone through absolute hell. I used to admire them and think, aren't they wonderful? But not me. And ... and it is obviously the sort of life I was meant to live. I believe we all have some sort of a destiny, and I was lucky enough to find my destiny and go with it, and then when I'd been professed ... You're a novice for three years. You have to make up your mind whether you really want to stay, and the community has to decide whether they want you, and then at the end of the three years you take your vows just for one year at a time, and you go on like that for another five years, and then at the end of five years, if the community wants you and you still want to stay, then you may give vows for life. So you've got plenty of time. But after you leave the noviciate, at the end of those three years ... you see, I was sent out to teach and I went back to Mandeville, where I'd been at school, and that was Christmas because I knew a lot of the girls, and I'd been to school there myself, and I was really at home, and I'm a good teacher, and I was very successful, and I was young and I was popular. It was great stuff. So ...

So apart the teaching which you could have done as a lay person, what was it about the life as a nun that really suited you so well?

I think the time for prayer and contemplation. Now our particular order lives according to the Jesuit rule. We have a wonderful foundress, an Englishwoman in the seventeenth century, who wanted to found an order of women who would do the sort of work that the Jesuits would, who would not have to dress up in specific religious garb, who would not have to live behind convent walls and wouldn't have fixed hours of prayer, but they could be professional women and they could just witness to who and what they were.

What 's the order called?

Well, the official name is the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary - the Society of Jesus Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We're generally called Loreto Sisters. And they're still ... well, she was put in prison by the Inquisition and had to modify some of her views, but there were a group of her sisters in York in England, all through the penal times. There were houses all ... spread all through ... well not all through but in Europe: particularly in Austria, southern Germany, Italy, and well, we've survived right through. But the idea is that you're trained to ... to make your prayer time really intense, and then, that what you're doing is enclosed in that ... that prayer, and I think, for me, that's fine, because I've always had this sense: that we're sort of like floating on an ocean. One of my favourite bits of poetry is that wonderful moment at the end of Dante's Purgatorio, when they come to the top of the mountain of purgatory and look out across the great ocean of being, and it's all dark and they see all these little lights moving across it, the little ships, and each one going to its own port, across the great ocean of being. So I've always had that sense, and I feel then that whatever you're doing that's okay, because it's caught up in this larger pattern. I mean, in ... and I assume I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. I mean, in theory a superior could say to me, 'Now stop that and go and teach kindergarten in Ballarat', and I think I would do it. I mean, I'd be supposed to do it. But you see, we've always been an intelligent order, and obedience doesn't mean you're being told to this and that, and though in the past it used to mean sometimes being told. For instance, I was moved from Melbourne, where I was doing very well teaching, to come to Ballarat to teach French and Geography, which I wasn't particularly good at. However, I did it. But mainly, the general notion is that your superiors listen to you and you talk about what you think you should be doing. Well here I've been teaching at UWA for twenty-one years now, and I seem to be doing all right so I'll stay there. But you know that it's okay because that's what the community says that you have to do.

But some people might have thought that if you were someone who loved teaching and loved prayer and contemplation, you could have done all of that without, in a sense, surrendering your independence by joining an order that required you to be obedient.

Yes. Oh yes. And that's perfectly true. But I felt that ... that call. You see I do believe there's ... that that word 'God' means something. There is a something. There is ... and I believe in the Christian story. Nobody's disproved the fact that the resurrection happened, so give it a go. I'll believe in the Pascalian Gamble. If it's true, that's fine. If it's not true, bad luck, but you've ... it's given you some purpose in life. And I believe that I was called to live in this sort of way. That was my shape and my life. Now I would never want to influence anybody else to do this. If ... if you're called that's great, and I think what we have seen since Vatican II, and all the changes that have come about, we've seen that some people join religious communities, I think perhaps for the wrong reasons, perhaps because they're immature. They had romantic ideas. Many of those have since left, and that's great and that's good, and others, a few, [have] stayed on, unhappy and ... but perhaps afraid to leave and afraid to jump and I think that's ... There's a great pathos about that. But ... I may delude myself, but I think this is the sort of person I'm meant to be and it suits me, so there we are.

Looking at what you committed yourself to, you're someone who is famous, some would say infamous for being independent in your mind, and acting sometimes against authority, often against authority. So looking at what you committed yourself to when you went into that order, one thing was this obedience. Now at the noviciate, when you arrived, was there anything done in order to test whether or not you could live with that and that you could end up saying, 'If I was told to do something I would do it?'

Now let me think. I'm sure there were things, but we also ... you know we were given ... we read. We read up on the theory of religious life and the theory of the vows and when you meditate on ... on the Christian story, yes, but we were told to ... For instance, I remember at one stage we had to ... we were supposed to stay behind and help clean up after meals. The novices had to do that while the others [in the] community went off to their work. Now at one stage ... And we had to ask permission to leave, you see. And we had to make sure that everything was done properly, and I remember on a couple of occasions, because I always wanted to dash on and do the next thing, the mistress of novices there in charge would say, 'No, you may not, sister', and you had to wait and then leave when you were allowed to leave. It used to make me very wild but I could see the point of it.

What was the point of it?

Well, to train you that you had to do what you were told, that you couldn't just do what you liked. See, no human being can really do just what you like. If you've got a family or if you've got a partner you have to fit your life into other people. I mean these were obviously crazy things, and some of the others used to get a bit demented about it - some of my colleagues. But, being a bit older I could realise that this was sort of training, the way they make commandos train: climb up ropes and jump into cold water. I could see that. Besides which I got terribly interested in this whole theory of religious life and I was a lucky woman, because I'd had my degree and I was trained as a teacher, whereas the others didn't, and they used to have to go into these classes and I was allowed, fortunate woman, to go away and read, and so I got hold of these extraordinary books about the monks of the desert and I was full bottle on all of these austerities, and I must say at that time I was a bit disappointed we didn't have so many austerities because we always had plenty to eat and that sort of thing. So, that was ... that was I think ... but I ...

What about the other tasks? I mean there are always images of endless polishing of floors.

Yes, there were. But I like that. It kept ... For one thing I love exercise, I hate sitting still. And it ... it got you beautifully warm. I was always afraid that I was going to be taken away from polishing the floor in the chapel. That was the job I was nearly always on. But I wasn't. Because it was wonderful. It kept you warm for the whole day. Because we had these dry rubbers - a block of wood on a long handle - and you put cloth on it first of all with wax and you waxed the floor, and then you had another cloth, which polished it. Nowadays of course, you use electrical polishers. But that was glorious fun. Got you beautifully warm. And I ... I didn't even mind washing up because washing up and doing all the pots and pans meant that I got out of sewing. That's what I really hated. I loathed it, because I've always been a bit of a tomboy, you see, and I do not like ladylike things, and I used to always ... that sewing was terrible because I'd never ... never do it properly, so I was always made to pick out what I had done and do it again. This was all a part of the training, so that I loathed. But the other: no, it didn't worry me very much. But I want to get back to this business of obedience. People say ... I'm not a rebel. It seems to me obedience is being ... well the root meaning of the word comes from 'to listen', ob aldeerae [?], and being obedient means being obedient to, what I call, God and God's will, or your deep destiny, whatever else you call it. And I try all the time to do what I believe I ought to do. I mean, perhaps I've got galloping scrupulosity or something like that. So, if it's the case that perhaps I might say something which conservative Catholics might say is disobedient to the Pope, I'm afraid in my theology, the obedience we all owe is to God. And the Papacy is the focus of the faith of the believing community, but no human being can have the last word. And so I try ... I think I'm obedient and the same thing if a particular politician or particular business person seems to me to be doing things which are destructive ... I mean I think what's going on in this state at the moment, what our Premier is doing to Aboriginal people is shameful and disgraceful, I will be as critical of it as I possibly can, though it's very hard to find an outlet in this state to say so. So I don't look at that as disobedient.

Don't religious orders though, when you join them, require you to interpret obedience to God as being the same thing as obedience to the order and therefore to the superior?

Well yes, but the ... as I say we, our superiors are intelligent women and it's an intelligent community. [Robin interjects] I usually let the superiors know what I'm doing, and by now they're sort of used to it. But if ... I mean, I remember ... well one of the ones, which really did cost me something was when I was just back from North America in the late sixties, and I'd been of course very much involved in the anti-Vietnam talk in the States. It seemed to me just the only logical thing, that that was a mad war, and when I came back to Australia I was profoundly shocked to see the very wide support that it had in Australia. Of course, I'd been in ... in a university in the States and in Canada, so of course I was with a special group. But when I came back I was very, very deeply shocked and I was very, very deeply shocked that so many Catholics were supporting that war. And then came the Jim Cairns moratorium and I asked permission to go to it. Nowadays, you wouldn't have to do that. And I was told, no, that I might not go to it, because in those days I was wearing a veil, and it was perfectly true that the cameras would have focused on me and I was told that that would give scandal. So I didn't go, but I tell you what: I was teaching at the Catholic Teacher's College at that time and I was walking down Swanston Street. No I didn't go down Swanston Street because they were sitting down there, so I walked down Elizabeth Street and looked very yearningly up at that. I really would have given my eyes and ears to go to it, but I thought, no, that's not the deal. Well since then, I've gone to it. All the sorts of things I thought I'd given up have come back to me in different ways. For instance I'd always wanted to travel, and I thought well, that's the end of that. I'll never travel. And look at me: travelling all over the place. I mean it's also the fact too, that I'm an academic, and that's a great help. So I still say that I would do what I'm told. If superiors came and said, 'Stop all that', I would stop it. I mean, even this time when I'm upset lots of people and went on the Four Corners programme, which was discussing the new Papal Encyclical, I rang up my provincial first and said, 'Is that okay if I go?' So, it's not ... I mean I ... I have had great support. Maybe they're wicked women. Perhaps I'm not the wicked woman, but they accept that that's a thing I have to do and that's my conscience.

But if they had been less tolerant, less understanding, less intelligent, you would still have bowed your will to them.

I don't know. I mean, in theory I will do what I'm told, but I might ... it might have then seemed to me that that was not the place for me to be. But it didn't happen, and I have been given a dream run, really, because I've always ... apart from that one time when I went to teach French and Geography, which of course I managed, because you know, this is not ... it's just the truth that I have a few brains. And I did ... did do a bit of French at university. It wasn't my favourite thing, but apart from that, I've always taught the subjects that I liked, and that I'd been teaching in high school for about ten years, and then one day I was rung up and I was asked if I would be prepared to go and do my doctorate in North America. Well, you know, all expenses paid. So, off I went.

This was by the order?

Yes. And because you see, the intelligent people realised that universities were expanding and since our work is teaching, you teach in universities, so off I went. And then I came back and it seemed a bit silly to go back into the school and the provincial didn't ask me to. She asked me to go and teach in the Catholic Teachers' College. And I was there for a couple of years and I really did think, well look, this is not ... I'm not using what I have to the best of my abilities. It would be much better to get a job in a University. So I said that to her, and she said, 'Well hang on. Hang on for another year until I can find somebody to replace you and then look for a job', which I did, and I got a mere senior tutor's job here at UWA and I've been here ever since. And again I was very lucky because our professor at that time, Alan Edwards, was famous for being an eccentric and no nonsense about selection committees or anything like that. He made all the decisions and he was famous for making eccentric appointments. I mean, imagine appointing a little nun? Granted that I did have my PhD, but Alan appointed me and since then I haven't looked back.

Looking back to going into the order, we've talked about obedience. The other thing that people have to focus on giving up is sex and family life, except for the family life that the order itself provides. And I wonder whether you thought very deeply about those things?

I did actually, because I had a very good friend, or not very - a good friend, who was on the teaching staff with me: a Jewish ... he'd been a psychiatrist, poor man, and when he arrived in Australia his qualifications weren't accepted, so the poor man was teaching science, and not very successfully. They were desperate for science masters, but we were good friends and we used to drink lots of coffee together, and he put it to me that perhaps I was afraid of sex and I was running away from sex, because I had this boyfriend who wanted to marry me. And so I thought very, very deeply about it and concluded: no I didn't think it was true and I still don't think it's true. I think that, well, I happen to have a firm belief that probably there are more people who are less interested in sex than ... than in theory they should be, than we usually admit. I think some people are sort of natural celibates. It's probably a question of sublimation if you think about it in Freudian ways. And I've always got lots of interesting things to do and be cheerfully ... and I suppose I'm healthy and ...

You've never thought curiously, look this is something that I've missed, or you just keep that thought out of your head?

Very occasionally I think yes, it would be wonderful to have one human being to whom you matter absolutely. Yes of course I think that. But then, I've got other things. I'm afraid, you see again, I'm not particularly maternal. I think kids are all very well, but in their place thanks. So I really haven't regretted ...

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